Santa’s Special – part of the annual KMR Series – Kimberworth, Sunday 15th December
Report by: Stuart Jones
4.55 miles of muddy trail
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the quality or consistency of a mud is determined by two factors, namely ‘stickiness’ and ‘plasticity’. There is a handy guide to be found online at: http://www.fao.org/tempref/FI/CDrom/FAO_Training/FAO_Training/General/x6706e/x6706e08.htm#top
Basically mud is ‘very sticky’ if a ball of it sticks to both thumb and finger after compression and release, and it is ‘very plastic’ if you can roll it into a sausage and then reform a ball.
All this is useful if you want to find which soil is best for lining a pond or setting a grotesquely filthy Trail Race in Kimberworth.
This seasonal bargain provides a decent challenge on six ascents (one sticky, one plastic – each visited twice), one infant woodland with non-sticky, non-plastic mud and a delightful bit of TPT / SWR with soft patches filled with leaves. For the second time in as many days (Elsecar Running Festival ‘Half Marathon’ on Saturday) my kit went straight in the wash when I got home and by itself – this was a heavy-duty coating of mud.
In the woodland alongside Droppingwell Road the mud was a rich, deep brown and satisfying to tread in. It was warm to the toe and not at all unpleasant. Taking the first steep bank in Barber Wood the soil / mud changed to something much more slippery; it held a footprint (once your foot had stopped its backward movement) but not its position relative to the bank. This required a walking pace for most of us. The one open field had an incline of course, and was merely waterlogged rather than mud. At the top of the route is an infant woodland, planted on the former Grange Colliery site (where the golf driving range sits). The soil is very poor, having been only put there when the colliery shut and the land was reclaimed. This wet, cold, slop was all silt, and it splashed high up the thighs and back. It was chilly and unpleasant, and a little frightening for lack of grip on the drop onto the Golf Academy access road.
Just a bit of fun, really this race; £5.00 entry OTD only, with the usual Kimmy Striders prizes of wine and chocolates (selection boxes at this race) for every age category. I don’t win anything, of course, (I’m neither Rob Betts or Sarah Allcard) but I did get a bottle of water, 4.55 miles on the Long Distance Strider spreadsheet, my annual elevation gain up to within 50 feet of 2018’s total, to run in red tights and red top, and to finish as ‘First Strider’. Pride!
Arron Larkin of Rotherham HAC, in 28:29
Lindsay James of Kimberworth Striders, in 34:35
First VM60 (!)
Steve Lowndes of Kimberworth Striders, in 34:24
Sole City Strider:
Stuart Jones (22nd out of 83 finishers), in 39:50